#PlusSizeAppreciation: The body positivity movement sparking all kinds of reactions

Yesterday, a really cool hashtag took hold of Twitter. #PlusSizeAppreciation is exactly what it sounds like: plus-size women launching a social media empowerment revolution, tweeting gorgeous selfies accompanied by words of self love.

Though the hashtag has existed for a while now (and was used in response to related issues like Lane Bryant’s #I’mNoAngel campaign, and Protein World’s “Are You Beach Body Ready” ads), yesterday is when #PlusSizeAppreciation really took hold.

Here are some awesome examples of the hashtag in motion:

It’s thrilling to see so many women take to social media to embrace their bodies and love themselves. These women are not only beautiful badasses, they’re also total role models, and we are so grateful to these social media warriors for fighting the good fight on the body positivity front.

The other thing that happened in the wake of this awesome hashtag was the backlash hashtag #SkinnyGirlAppreciation — a response by those who feel they’re being shamed for their naturally skinny size. Here’s where things get complicated — and prove what a minefield our body politics can be. It seems that what originally started as a means of group female empowerment has resulted in a fracture between women.

“On the one hand, it’s crucial to support other women,” debates Bustle’s Marie Southard Ospina.”I believe that every body is beautiful. I truly do. And that means I believe every body deserves praise. But at the same time, those using the #SkinnyGirlAppreciation tag have yet to address the under-recognized reality that is ‘thin privilege.’”

Ospina continues: “I believe thin bodies are beautiful, but I also believe that they’re largely accepted; whereas fat bodies are not. And due to this fact, I do wish plus-size men and women would’ve been allowed this one moment. This one movement.”

Meanwhile, others took umbrage with the fact that the Twitter hashtag was reactionary, rather than sparked on its own. This is all to say that body image issues are complicated — even in the form of social media movements. It’s sad to see them driving women apart rather than bringing them together. If there’s anything we can learn from this it’s that ALL bodies are beautiful, and we’re all striving for the same thing: to just be appreciated.

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